Bethel Woods’ Woodstock Celebration Downsizes; Ringo Starr, Santana To Perform

Carlos Santana
Derek Green / Gallo Images / Getty Images
– Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana plays Cape Town Stadium in South Africa April 11.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock has shifted from its initially announced format as one of the producers has dropped out.

The event was initially billed as the “Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival,” a collaboration between the Center, Live Nation Concerts, and INVNT [a “global live brand storytelling agency”] that would feature music, TED-style talks, and special exhibits.

INVNT CEO Scott Cullather has since announced in a press release the company “will not be involved in the new format and we wish Bethel Woods and Live Nation, as well as the organizers of the other 50th anniversary celebrations taking place around the world, the very best.”

The performances will now be part of the Center’s “A Season of Song & Celebration” event series, and the Woodstock-themed events will take place during “Anniversary Week,”  from Aug. 15-18, a significant scaling back from the originally planned festival.

The celebration will now kick off with a special screening of the Academy-Award winning documentary “Woodstock: the Director’s Cut,” to be screened Aug. 15.

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band will play with Arlo Guthrie and Edgar Winter Band Aug. 16; Santana will play with special guest The Doobie Brothers Aug. 17; and programming for Aug. 18 is yet to be revealed.

Santana mentioned in a previous interview that he expected Santana to be the event’s “house band,” and he hoped to invite rappers like Common or Kendrick Lamar along with performers from the original Woodstock festival to the event.

The Bethel Woods shindig is not the only Woodstock celebration planned this year, as original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang has announced an official Woodstock 50 celebration Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

The Bethel Woods Center now stands on the site of the original Woodstock Festival 50 years ago. Lang previously commented he was glad the 15,000-capacity Bethel Woods Center was putting on a celebration, but it simply didn’t have the capacity to host an event at the scale he envisioned.

Tickets to the Bethel Woods shows were not available through the Center’s official website at press time, but more information is said to be forthcoming.